A short while ago I had Tormentor, the drummer of the Black Thrash band DESASTER, at the phone, in order to pester him with questions about the new CD "Angelwhore", the upcoming tour in Southamerica and so on. Kindly he gave me willing the answers! |
We, i.e. some of the Bleeding staff, retourned yesterday from the Summerbreeze festival. Were you there, too, with DESASTER?
Tormentor: No, on Saturday (20.08.2005) we had the Release-Party of our new CD in Wermelskirchen.
Did everything went fine?
Tormentor: Yes, I think there were roundabout 350 - 400 people. The club was already sold out at 20 pm [laughing]! If they didn't have beer for free, noone would have been there...
The new CD "Angelwhore" is/was released on August 22nd. It lasted a long time since your last studio output in December 2002. Was this intentional, or did you only have a creativ break?
Tormentor: We do not know break. We played several shows, were in Brasilia, too, and recorded the (live)CD. We really played a lot, but we also were in the rehearsal room in order to write new songs. It always a little bit longer with us... and so the time goes on and on. We hadn't decide to release a new record at a certain time. The publication is just then, when the songs are ready. We do not expose ourselves to a stress.
So noone else did put you under pressure?
Tormentor: If someone is going to dare... [lacht]. Absolutely noone can influence us. In any case we do not want to present anything underdone. Either 100%, or you have to wait.
Can you say something about the lyrics or the themes on "Angelwhore"?
Tormentor: Actually not, because for me especially as a drummer the lyrics are not so much important. For me the voice es more an instrument than a mouthpiece. I know, that our vocalist sets great store by it, but I cannot tell you any details.
So your vocalist alone is responsible for the lyrics, not every member of the band?
Tormentor: For this CD our singer wrote all of the lyrics. On our former record partly out guitarrist and partly our old label boss did participate in the words. It all depends.
How about the songwriting in all? Do you share it or do you for youself f.e. your drumparts, the singer his vocal stuff? Or is everything done together?
Tormentor: No, mostly the very first idea is a riff of the guitar. Then Infernal (the guitarist)and myself come together for a rehearsal and start with the basic framework. After that it is presented to the other members and then the rest is added. Nevertheless in the end it is a teamwork.
Where do you see the difference to the predecessor "Divine Blasphemies"; or to other older records?
Tormentor: Actually I do not see a big difference. I think, we managed to put different pieces of our last 3 albums together. We took the heavyness from the "Hellfire's Dominion", the brutal/fast thing from the "Divine Blasphemies" and from the "Tyrants of the Netherworld" more this darkness and gloomy atmosphere. We tried, to bring in everything concentrated in one work.
Are you satisfied with you work all around? Or do you now think, you could have done any things better?
Tormentor: You always criticize a little bit every record after a while. While recording we had f.e. some problems with the basedrums in the studio. With it we made a few mistakes, that we surely will not do again the next time. There are always a few things after the event you think about: Hmm, that we could do once more... But we are not perfect; we really don't want to be. So it's ok.
Have you already started with songs for a new CD angefangen, or will you now first have a break?
Tormentor: No, we recently started to collect a few riffs, to build up some ideas. But in 2 weeks we first will play again in the Netherlands, and after that we will have a short trip to Switzerland and then we will to Southamerica. So there's not much time for composing new songs. We will do it slowly step by step.
Meanwhile you have a contract with Metal Blade. How could you get this majordeal?
Tormentor: The guys did ask us already a few years ago, when we just were recording the "Divine Blasphemies". So we said, that it was to early for. I met Andreas Reissnauer every now and then at some Open Airs and we get along with each other. After the arrangement with Costas (from our former label Iron Pegasus), we decided to change. The only reason for that really is, that we want to concentrate more abroad.
During the last 4-5 years we very often played in Germany and the environment (Netherlands, Belgium, etc.). Surely it was great to play, but we did recognize, that the people weren't as enthusiastic as in the past. That's why we thought, to make ourselves a bit scarces in Germany. But we cannot manage it completely without Live-Concerts. In may f.e. we played in Finland, that was really great. But we want to go further outside. We often did get any offers from abroad. But in the end it always failed because it's true that the name DESASTER
is known, but not in that way, that they could have taken us over there.
So with a bigger label you have more backing?
Tormentor: The record company does not have a lot to do with the concerts. It's only a question of their promotion. Unfortunately our former label did not have the capacitance, so that we could have look abroad intensively.
But the vinyl version of "Angelwhore" will be distributed from Iron Pegasus further on, right?
Exactly! We did not want to leave Costas completely. Because everything he did in the past always sense. And we really were very, very satisfied with him or we still are respectively. We saw the new record last saturday. It really looks great, again!
One of the positive things with Metal Blade is, that the guys are really very cooperative. We said, that we want to do this and that, and if it isn't possible, we will leave it. And they just did agree. Too, the fact, that the vinyl really is going to be published by Costas/Iron Pegasus. Than the Southamerica thing, that completely went over to the label Mutilation Records (who published our live-album, too). So they are responsible for the release of the new CD and record in Southamerica. That also was handed over by Metal Blade. Further the whole merchandise stays with us! So we furtheron have the control about everything and with it we have our liberties.
Therefore you did not have to adapt yourselves in a way? You are not dictated what you have to do?
Tormentor: Than we wouldn't have signed the contract. We really don't like it, if someone wants to dictate us anything. We wouldn't have done it. It's true that Metal Blade is a big label, but they are really ok. We were never be put under pressure from any side. F.e. we were a bit defaulted on the layout. They only said: Ok, go on. But if we couldn't have manage it in the end, they wouldn't have call us to account for it.
Thus you did not have to take to a different working method? You're able to go on as before?
Tormentor: Yes, surely! As I said, otherwise we would not do it. They told us, what they want from us. And we told them, what we can give and what WE want to have. There were made no compromises. It succeeded very well-that's it! If there would have been any regulations or anything, if f.e. someone had interfered with our layout or our sound, than we would have said at once: NO.
Are there plans for releasing another record at Metal Blade?
Tormentor: We now have a contract about on CD and two more options. If the guys want us further on, then we will publish another CD there, I think. As soon as the new songs are finished, they can listen to it. Otherwise we surely would find an other label, or we release a demo again on our own. That doesn't matter.
Let's have a look on your planned tour through Southamerica in october. There will be 10 gigs in 11 days. That surely will be very exhausting, particularly since you have the journey there. The transfering in Southamerica itself will not be easy. How do you fancy that?
Tormentor: We do not have anything in mind. Everything is done by our record company there (Mutilation Records). We will fly from concert to concert with a scheduled flight, very good from here to there. Right in the middle we have a day-off, when we will tan our belly in on the beach in Sao Paolo. Apart from that it will be very heavy. F.e. this one gig in Columbia: We arrive at 9 o'clock at the airport, and at 11 o'clock do we have to enter the stage. And in between there is an 1 1/2 hour ride...
What made you to tour in Southamerica of all places? Is it a market, that still is unexplored?
Tormentor: It was that, that someone did write to us from Mutilation Records. For the guys there just it is very difficult to get European CD's, because the purchase prices are very high. They resell the CD's at this cost price without making a great profit. For this on the one hand the bootleg market is very big, what I really can understand thoroughly. The people really have no money for this. On the other hand the labels want to get licences there. For that reason Mutilation had the idea, to make a Live-CD with/from DESASTER. So that our fans in Brasilia will get the possibility to see us live, too. At this time, that means directly after "Divine Blasphemies", we had no good live recordings. After a few week we were invented to play a concert in Brasilia, to record it and to publish it at Mutilation. Last year in October we flew over there for only on gig, which was recently released as a CD, double record and DVD.
If you have a look at your guestbook on the homepage, you can see, that there are a lot of entries from Southamerica. So you there have a sort of name recognition?!
Tormentor: (laughing)Yeah, I wonder why... As we were picked up then in Sao Paolo, we were directly driven to the "Galeria do Rock". That ist a huge shopping centre only for hard music and anything around ist. The boss from Mutilation Records runs two stores there, too. In one of it we had an autographing session with free beer and so on. Before we said, ok let's do it and thought, that no one would come. But suddenly we were shocked, because more than 200 people were standing in front of the store! The day after we entered the hall, that was really very huge. Some month ago MARDUK and DARK FUNERAL played there in front of 1200 people. We should play with TORTURE SQUAD. We thought: oh no, that will never work. But somehow we had 900 paying guests; that really surprised us.
So the people in Southamerica are nearly "starved"? You said, that European bands do not play very often there.
Tormentor: Yes, you feel, that the people are really hungry for it. They sung our own songs to us, but if you wanted to talk with them, they couldn't speak or understand any English word. Somehow ist was funny. You felt, that the markets or the fans there are different. F.e. there is a big bootleg market. Two days before our concert Mutilation Records published T-Shirts from us. And then there was someone on our gig, who has worn a SELFPAINTED shirt with the new published picture on it... weird.
But it's good for you, because you said, that you want to gain a foothold in Southamerica?!
Tormentor: Yes, because we will play in Columbia and Peru, too. I'm very anxious for it.
When will we have again a concert for the fans "at home" in and around Koblenz?
Tormentor: In December there will be a gig in Mainz; and the Release-Party in Wermelskirchen was quite near... But the next year we do things in Germany more easily. We want to make nice holidays. Not with the band, everyone on his own. Last year I had my first holidays (alone with my girl-friend) since I'm a member of DESASTER bin - so since 9 years. About time too! Perhaps in 2007 we will do a bigger tour. But you cannot say "no" to a gig here and there.
Don't you want to play a gig at the upcoming Hellbangers Festival, that you organize?
Tormentor: No, we played at the 1. Hellbangers Festival then together with DESTRÖYER 666. Other bands should play there first. It's so, that we have a band from the surrounding of Hellbangers each year. The 2. time it was NOCTURNAL, the 3. time METAL INQUISITOR and this year it will be ZARATHUSTRA. The vocalist comes from this region.
Let's come to the band in general. As mentioned you're since 1996 a member of DESASTER. First as a temporary help for one gig and then you played a short 3-days tour. Correct?
Tormentor: Yes, that's right. In 1995 I had my first show with the band in Dessau. At the end of 1995 we were on tour with OKKULT and another idiotic band. A short while after the recordings of DESASTER's Debut, I joined the band completely.
Did you ever thought about leaving the band?
Tormentor: No, no, no, no! Meanwhile we spend so much hours and days together. If one of us would think about leaving, he must be really mad.
So you all see yourselves every day?
Tormentor: Fortunately no longer [laughing]... No, that was a joke! We rehearse twice a week, one time with our vocalist, because he has 200 km to drive. It's everytime quite uncomfortable for him. Just when important dates are fixed, f.e. recordings, concerts, etc., he approaches more often. Some times Infernal and I meet 3 times a week for rehearsals in Koblenz.
Thus everyone of you invests a lot of time in the band?
Tormentor: Yes! Sometimes I'm additionaly sitting up to 6 hours in front of the PC, mainly answering the Emails, doing a lot of interviews. Now, because of the Deal with Metal Blade we are swamped with interview inquiries. For that we first have to distribute the things. In addition we have to do a lot: layouts for T-Shirts or flyer, because we all do it on our own.
Do you all have "normal" jobs as well? If yes, who does what?
Tormentor: Yes, all of us are working! Ok, first our guitarplayer has studied social pedagogics for 50 years, and now he has a job since 1 1/2 years. Ous bassplayer is an employee in a dental lab. And our singer works for the community of Prüm. I for myself am an office worker at a parcel delivering service.
What about freetime beside the work and DESASTER?
Tormentor: Well,, the band is our freetime. But what ever happens, DESASTER will just be a hobby for us, even if it es very time-consuming. We will insist on it. If anyone would force us to do something, f.e. with CD's, concerts or so, we wouldn't do it. We do not want to gain the big money with our music, but playing it with fun.
Can you always coordinate this hobby with you works/holiday? Or are there problems sometimes?
Tormentor: There are sometimes bottlenecks. One time f.e. I came back from a tour in the late sunday night and was directly driven to the office. Usually all free days are spent on the band. But it is worth, otherwise we wouldn't do it any longer.
Some of your early releases since the demo-debut in 1992 meanwhile are completely soldout? Is it a pleasure for you? Or would you like it better, if some more fans could get the older outputs, too?
Tormentor: That's a good question. Actually it is so, that we limit some of the releases. Nowadays the fans get everything they want. You just have to visit a website and at once the things come up to your living-room. So that you only have to feed your CD Player. That's what we want to prevent a little bit with our outputs, in order to make the people searching for it. When I was searching for an album in the past, I hadn't the possibility to sit in front of the PC and look for it in an auction. Instead of this, I went to concerts of the bands or visited metal markets. Sure, the normal CD's have to be sold, because a label that pays for the stuff is standing behind it every time. But for smaller releases such as our Split-CD with SABBAT from Japan, that is limited to 666 pieces by sheer chance, the people have to make an effort first to recieve it. We don't want to impose ourselves to anyone.
You did re-release two albums completely new. Why!
Tormentor: With the debut and the following Mini-CD the layout (Cover, Booklet) was changed again. In the past "Stormbringer" was published only as a Digi-Pack, therefor it was published again in a normal jewelcase. But we didn't change the sound.
The news at your homepage were not changes since january. Wasn't there anything new with DESASTER?
Tormentor: Of course there is! But we hadn't any contact to our webmaster for a long time. And we do not have enough knowledge to do it on our own. But at the moment I'm working together with this man for a new website. And I hope that it will go online quickly. Then I for myself can write news and post ist. Until today I had to send everything to the webmaster.
Did you know, that DESASTER are an example for Thrash-Metal Bands in some online encyclopedia?
Tormentor: No, I don't know it. Then they are badly informed.
At freenet.de f.e. they say "Another flourishing scene is built in Germany with bands like Destruction, Kreator, Tankard and Sodom. In latest time more younger bands, too, like Desaster, Blizzard, Witchburner, and so on." You can read it in many encyclopedia. I you then push the word "Desaster", you come to "catastrophe"...
Tormentor: [laughing loud] Oh, they have investigated well after all! Ok, if they compare us with bands of the 2. hour. But noone can get through to the older bands.
OK, I give up! Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure!